Why do Saudi Women take loans from Banks?

The bank officials of Saudi Arabia have observed that the trend of taking loans is increasing among Saudi women. According to the officials, there are various reasons behind taking loans by the Saudi women. For instance, a bank branch manager, Naseem Al Kharss revealed that most women take a loan for the sake of their families or to meet a personal requirement. Women are now actively participating in economic activities for the sake of their families.[irp]

Al Kharss said that loan applications lodged by women reveal that they need loans to financially support their husbands. They even take a loan to assist their husbands in building a home or renovate it. Some have applied for a loan to buy a car for their sons! The brave women are taking the responsibility of repaying the loan all by themselves. They want to economically support their husbands, parents, and families. The branch manager says that it is quite rare that women would come asking for a loan as she has to spend vacation abroad.

Al Kharss noted that women tend to stay away from risky investments. Women are unlikely to take a loan for investment purpose. The average amount of loan taken by most Saudi women is SR 300,000 and more. The amount of loan granted depends on the salary earned by the applicant. The Saudi banks prefer to give a loan to those who are appointed in public sector. There are very few cases where women have not been able to repay their loans and thereby they were referred to the agent who collects the loan in easier installments. 

A former bank manager, Nojood Al Bahrani claims that among the various reasons for which women take a loan, few are; purchase of jewels, spend vacations abroad and to repay the debt of their parents. Women who take a loan for investment purposes such as salons and parlor are strictly monitored.

When surveyed, it revealed that female school teachers are the ones who apply most for the loan. Female nurses are categorized as the second ones to take the most loans. The banks prefer to give out a loan to a public sector employee. A private sector employee is readily rejected for a loan if she is unable to come up with sufficient guarantees of repayment.

Amjad J. who is a school teacher has taken loans multiple times during past 5 years. She wanted to support her husband to meet the basic needs of the family. She claims that her husband cannot earn enough. The salary he brings in is all used up before the month ends. The loans she took were used to meet the children’s need and to renovate the home. She says that never had she ever taken a loan to fulfill her own need or for a vacation, yet she is happy to serve her family and support her husband.[irp]

Anfal Salah who is a private sector employee took multiple loans to financially assist her mother. She took a loan to help her mother incur wedding expenses of her brother’s marriage. She says that it was her duty to fulfill her family needs and she is happy that she is a responsible family member.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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